Zak the Zebra gallops into Yaxham to support 20mph limits to keep kids safe

Friday 9 May 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Zak the Zebra, mascot of road safety charity Brake, has galloped into Yaxham, Norfolk. Thanks to sponsorship from Royal HaskoningDHV, Zak is supporting a community campaign for 20mph speed limits by Yaxham Primary School.

Despite the introduction of zig-zag road markings four years ago, campaigners are concerned that pupils are being put in danger by fast traffic outside the school, which is positioned on a bend, as well as by dangerous and inconsiderate parking. A survey in 2013 for the Yaxham Community Led Plan, chaired by Peter Smith, confirmed that 90% of households believe traffic speeds in the village are a major problem, with the 30mph Norwich Road outside the school the most frequently mentioned cause of concern.

In February 2014, concerned parents formed a '20's plenty' action group, together with headteacher Cor Dekker, to call for a 20mph speed limit. The campaign now has the backing of the local parish council, parent-teacher association, and local MP George Freeman, who are all united in their goal.

Norfolk country council has since placed Yaxham Primary on a list of schools to have part-time 20mph limits around opening and closing times, but this is yet to be implemented as the school is not considered a funding priority.

According to campaigners there have been at least two near misses outside the school recently, and campaigners are adamant that a 20mph speed limit needs to be put in place before someone is killed or injured.

Parents, staff and pupils will be gathering to launch the campaign at the school on 9 May, together with George Freeman MP, who will be judging the children's '20's plenty' road sign competition, and local police officers, who will be doing checks and giving road safety advice. Brake's mascot, Zak the Zebra, will also be there to meet parents and pupils and show his support.

Brake campaigns nationally for town, village and city-wide 20mph limits, to protect people where they live, work, learn or play. To find out more about the GO 20 campaign for safe, active, happy communities, and how you can get involved, visit www.brake.org.uk/go20.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Everyone – adults and children – should be able to walk and cycle in their communities, to get to school or work, or for their health and enjoyment, without being put in danger by fast traffic. We have a duty to our children to create a safe environment for them to live and learn, and to enjoy the places where they live. That's what Brake's GO 20 campaign is all about: putting people's safety first, and empowering us all to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles. Brake is committed to supporting campaigners across the country who, as in Yaxham, are passionate about making their communities safer and more pleasant places to live. We hope Zak's visit will encourage the authorities to listen to the community's concerns and take action by putting in a 20 limit: we firmly believe it's the most appropriate speed limit in our towns and villages."

Racheal Higgins, school governor and chair of Yaxham 20's plenty action group, said: "We are grateful for the support and hard work of everyone involved with the 20's plenty action group, who have formed a fabulous, caring team. We will not wait for a crash or fatality to achieve our goal of 20mph limits; our children's lives and wellbeing are our utmost priority."

Stephen Bibb, principal transport planner, Royal HaskoningDHV, said: "We are proud to support Brake in their community campaigns for safer roads. We believe that road safety should be proactive and these campaigns are not only important in educating communities but they also support local authorities in helping to prevent needless deaths and injuries on our roads, which devastate too many lives. By supporting Brake's Zak the Zebra campaign, we hope we can help people campaigning on the front line to make our roads safer, more inclusive and sustainable environments for everyone."

Notes for editors

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Zak the Zebra
To receive support and advice from Brake and Zak the Zebra on campaigning for safer roads locally, community members can report their road safety concerns or campaigns at www.zakthezebra.org. Alternatively, they can call Zak's hotline number, 08000 687 780. The hotline is sponsored by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, corporate partners of Brake.

Regional Managing Partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Grahame Codd, said: "As personal injury solicitors we are well aware of how road crashes can devastate lives. We are providing the Zak the Zebra hotline to hopefully reduce the shocking number of child casualties on our roads."

Royal HaskoningDHV
Royal HaskoningDHV is an independent, international engineering and project management consultancy with more than 130 years of experience. Providing services in aviation, buildings, energy, industry, infrastructure, maritime, mining, rural areas, urban areas and water all over the world. By showing leadership in sustainable development and innovation, together with our clients, we are working to become part of the solution to a more sustainable society now and into the future.